Nissan Is Expanding Nationwide EV Charging Network

Nissan has been essentially greasing the tracks for its all-electric Leaf by working with charging station providers across the country and as part of that effort, today it said it has installed 265 DC quick chargers out of 600 planned by March 31, 2014, the end of its fiscal year.

This news was relayed today by Brendan Jones, director, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, Nissan North America in a conference call held by the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA).

The Japanese automaker reports Leaf sales are also on a roll, and expects recent monthly sales records hovering around the 2,000 mark will be surpassed in coming months, as it reports hot spots including San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta.

“Atlanta is on fire,” said Jones, citing state-level incentives adding to the EV-acquisition synergy.

As for the charging initiative, Nissan has realized it needs to get on board with increasing the number of available chargers if it wants to continue to grow the business,
and Jones described a three-prong approach to providing chargers.

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These are 1) consumer-based 240-volt, level 2, for home use, 2) “community based” speaking of public infrastructure, and 3) Nissan is helping with the aforementioned 480-volt level 3 quick chargers.

Jones said 265 quick chargers chargers “in ground today” is “a huge increase from where we were six months ago.”

And, if in previous years you might have seen reports that high-current charging could potentially shorten an EV’s battery lifespan, in a recent interview with Jones, he said this is no longer a concern. The batteries can take the massive current dump, he told us in Washington, D.C. last month, and the benefits of 80-percent charge in 30 minutes are a big plus to expanding intra-day range.

Prior to that, during a tour in April of Nissan’s new battery plant adjacent to its assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., Jones was also asked how long Nissan intends to be in the charger business to solve the proverbial chicken and egg dilemma of need for more chargers to support more EVs.

The gist of the answer Jones gave at the time was as long as it takes, and it would appear Nissan is still on target with these plans.